angeles national forest

A Beautiful Mistake


When you attempt to explore a new trail that is described as “lightly trafficked” and “hard to find”, you know you are gambling. You don’t know what you will run into. You have to listen to your intuition and hope you make the best decisions along the way when needed.

I think I mentioned before that I am directionally challenged at times. But that never stops me from wanting to go out and explore new trails so it can get tricky at times. I get anxious and excited the night before because of the unknown factor and usually get up before the alarm.

That morning wasn’t any different. Xena and I arrived at the John Henge trailhead bright and early and found ourselves alone starting from the parking lot. The hike began on a fire road. Easy enough.


But quickly, we were on the wrong path because I stayed on the fire road instead of taking a use trail which was not marked. I didn’t realize we were lost until we were already 1.5 miles into the hike.


Can you see where we were supposed to make a left?


We retraced back to almost to the beginning of the hike then I saw the use trail I missed. But wait, check out this gigantic pine cone! It was bigger than Xena’s head. I was so amused and wanted to take a comparison photo next to her face. But she wanted nothing to do with it. So this was the closest I could manage without her getting irritated with me.

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Once I found the use trail, we began the ascent as I expected and it never stopped. As I was panting, I wished we didn’t already hike 3 miles on the fire road.

When you are not sure of what you are doing, your dog knows it. And in Xena’s case, she clearly lets me know. Nope, I am not following you until you get us back on the right track. She turned her head and ignored my calling. And she was right, her way was the right way. So I climbed back up to meet her and we continued.


The trail disappeared and we had to find our way using cairns.


We arrived at the top and I knew we still had at least 2 miles to go to reach Mount Waterman but I couldn’t see a way and didn’t find any cairn. So we did what we usually do when we get lost. I find us a place to take a snack break and strategize the next move. We climbed the boulders in the effort to find a view for a break.

Check out this view!


We did not make it to Mount Waterman but I feel like we had a better viewpoint because I got us lost. A beautiful mistake? I don’t believe in coincidence anymore. I think this view was supposed to be found that day. Sometimes the universe has other plans that might be better than what we have. I’ve learned to go with the flow.


I remained in a confused state during most of this 7-mile hike. No joke. Haha. I am grateful for my sense of humor and Xena’s witty personality because, without them, I don’t think it would’ve been as fun as we made it.

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Happy Hiking!


4 comments on “A Beautiful Mistake”

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